5 Delicious Animals You Can Eat During Lent
Any Catholic knows the hardship of having to give up eating meat every Friday in the weeks before Easter. However, throughout the years the Catholic church has made some bizarre exceptions to this rule to allow its followers to skip the whole "personal sacrifice" thing (which is the entire point of Lent) and eat the meat of certain animals guilt-free, leaving them plenty of room to feel guilty about everything else (which is the entire point of Catholicism).
A monastery in Northern France in the late 1600s found a way around the meatless Friday rule by eating puffin, a seagoing bird known for its stature in the publishing world. The church considered it kosher because "its natural habitat was as much terrestrial as aquatic," and therefore they should be allowed to classify it as a fish despite the fact that it cannot breathe underwater, which you may notice is the single defining characteristic of a fish.
New Orleans' archbishop said in an email to one of his members that the church's national conference of bishops considers alligator to be a fish and therefore safe for Catholics to eat on Fridays during Lent, even though the animal is actually a reptile and is technically a dinosaur. Locals are therefore free to delight in the deep-frying of a formerly endangered species because a man with no scientific background reclassified alligators in an email he sent one afternoon.
Michigan Catholics have been eating muskrat meat on Fridays for years, ever since a missionary in the 1800s declared that eating the rodent was excusable because many people living in the area at the time literally didn't have anything else to eat, and dead people tend to miss church. The local archdiocese has had a "long-standing permission" of the practice, which is great for people who cannot abstain from eating meat for one fucking day out of the entire week and don't mind eating something that is generally prepared with its face still attached.
Canada's population is predominantly Catholic, and despite the fact that there is no shortage of salmon or trout in the Great White North, Jesuit missionaries insisted that the church rule the eating of beavers a viable option during Lent. In retrospect, this might have been a request that was read too literally, but in any case, the consumption of paddle-tailed industrious water mammals on Fridays leading up to Easter is now 100 percent allowed.
Whoever came up with Lent (we're looking at you, Jesus) clearly didn't take St. Patrick's Day into account when they finalized the scheduling. Sometimes the beloved Irish holiday (a phrase which here means "people wear green shit and have no idea what it is they're even celebrating") falls on a Friday smack dab in the middle of Lent, and that makes it difficult for Catholics to enjoy the traditional St. Patrick's Day meal of corned beef and cabbage and enough alcohol to make them forget how pants work.
Rather than making people choose between a meaningless annual celebration and eating meat, Catholic bishops all over the country pretty much agree that it's OK for their flock to eat corned beef during Lent, even though it is red meat and emphatically contradicts the entire tradition. Because religion is nice, but the things that truly matter to people above all else are their drinking holidays.
"Jesus who? Was he Arthur Guinness' brother?"
Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter, humorist, and bacon weaver. He can be found on the Web at www.dannygallagher.net and on Twitter @thisisdannyg.